Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Challenges of a Long Weekend Away

Well, last weekend really put this new eating & training plan to the test. If you've ever tried to follow a change in diet, or perhaps you have eating challenges yourself, you'd know just how hard it can be to be away from home and 'stick to the plan'. This was a huge learning curve for me. 

For this trip we were travelling by car and staying in a house so it seemed sensible to pack accordingly. In my case this usually means 'overpacking by enormous proportions'.  I always take a decent amount of food and supplies from home. Mostly these are the generic everyday items such as cereals, breads, spreads, dairy/fridge items that need using and any other random fruit and veggies. This trip was no different, other than trying to have as many of the MP food types as possible in order to 'be prepared'.
This list included (in addition to the above) - protein powder/supplement, flaxseeds, flax oil (omega-3), coconut water (I've started enjoying this in my protein drinks) and most importantly Glenda. (If you missed the previous post, which has sadly disappeared, Glenda is our newest family member in the form of a Super-Blender.) Seriously!! Who takes their blender on holidays?? Well, clearly we do. We certainly had a good laugh at ourselves doing this, but hey, we used it every day at least twice a day so it didn't go to waste. 

The first challenge was our en-route stop, traditionally a fast-food outlet of the kids' choice. I knew I wouldn't want/be able to eat anything from said menu so I took a pre-prepared protein smoothie and some hard-boiled eggs for the road. I might've snuck in a homemade savoury muffin as well, and chose to ignore the fact that that particular food type didn't 'fit' with the 'timing' of consumption. (With MP you basically eat 'all' your major carbs (excluding veggies) within a window of time from the start of your last workout, and in this case the window was well and truly closed). This made the road-trip quite bearable. All up not too bad at all.

Even eating out for dinner was remarkably achievable. I'm really happy to eat fish so the choice of salmon with salad & extra veggies (instead of chips) was fine by me. So fine that I had it twice and the 3rd night I swapped the salmon for chicken. Pretty easy (until I realised that by swapping to chicken meant that I missed the Omega-3 component of the meal.) The biggest challenge came when spending the days out and about with the kids. It's easy to pre-prepare and take one smoothie but carrying a few different meals around all day was just not going to happen. And thus, finding the best choices in cafes became pretty tricky. Most places offer some kind of focaccia variations or warm food made of heavy carbs such as pasta. These were no longer 'options' for me as I'd already exercised early in the morning* and thus eaten my oats and  (carbs) for breakfast. Eggs became the best and most usual choice, opting for no toast and extra sides of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms etc. 

Things I have learned from this:

1) Carry Fish-oil capsules (omega-3) around at all times, then when faced with a meal choice that includes protein and veggies (for my low energy carbs), I can 'pop a pill' and all bases are covered (all MP meals need to have these 3 components)

2) If faced with the chance that a meal out may or will quite likely include pasta/rice/grains, try and change the timing of the days exercise so that the 'appropriate eating window of time' will magically open and all will be good in the world. When this is not possible, look at is as one of the two allowed 'cheat meals' for the week, thoroughly enjoy the meal and stop feeling bad about it. 

3) *When exercising make sure that it's the correct form of exercise in order to 'open the window' for eating those carbs (this would be with a high intensity workout or strength training). I made the mistake of taking a couple of light jogs along the beach (this alone was very pleasant) the error in judgment was me thinking that this then equaled the right to heartily enjoy my carbs straight afterwards. Sadly I was mistaken. On returning to my PT yesterday, I was gently informed that for the Low Intensity Activities) "we don't 'open the carb window". Oops! 

All in all, I'd say that I managed to eat MP correctly for about 50% of the weekend away. Not great but 50% better than I would've otherwise done, so I must've made at least a 50% improvement on my over-all well-being right? 

It is still early days and I am still getting used to the variations in eating patterns and new habits. A lot of  my time at the moment is spent on pre-planning and pre-preparing food to have to hand at any given time so as to not fall-short of daily nutritional requirements. I can only trust it will soon get quicker and easier.

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